Sethembile Msezane 

Public Holiday Series, 2013-4
Kwasuka Sukela, 2015-7
Speaking Through Walls, 2018-9

Sethembile Msezane’s work is concerned with the politics of public commemoration, history making, spirituality and African epistemologies. Her multidisciplinary practice aims to unearth the stories of individuals who have been rendered invisible, and advocates ancestral spirituality as a form of healing.

In Public Holiday Series and Kwasuka Sukela, Msezane critiques the predominance of white colonial and Afrikaner men in public memorials in South Africa. She uses her own body as a conduit for the spirits of the Black women in various African societies, who have not been included in the different nation’s collective imaginaries.

Msezane’s practice is deeply informed by her spiritual beliefs and dreams, which influence her material reality. Speaking Through Walls depicts dreamscapes in which the artist encounters spirit beings in different terrains. Through these dreamscapes, she explores shared stories of the violence and dispossession experienced during colonialism and Apartheid but also life before African conquest, attempting to reveal new layers of history as a means of healing.

Msezane was born in KwaZulu-Natal in 1991. She lives and works in Cape Town.

As part of our Photoworks Festival, Osei Bonus, curator at Tate Modern, spoke with Sethembile Msezane. You can watch the full Instagram live below:


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